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Mark Belsham and Rob Riddell win the PGA South Region’s “Prince’s 27” competition

Long-time golfing pals Mark Belsham and Rob Riddell put their wealth of course knowledge to good use to win the PGA South Region’s “Prince’s 27” competition.

Belsham, from Sholden, and Riddell, who lives in Worth, were among 52 pairs of PGA professionals and amateurs who teamed up for the event over the Sandwich Bay links on Monday, writes Kevin Redsull.

Winning golfer Mark Belsham, a former club professional at Prince's Golf Club
Winning golfer Mark Belsham, a former club professional at Prince's Golf Club

With a combined age of 120, both being aged 60, they were the oldest pairing in the 27-hole competition which took in all three of the nine-hole courses at Prince’s – and with a different format for each section.

The opening foursomes over the Shore course was followed by a greensomes over the Dunes, with a four-ball betterball to finish over the Himalayas course. Belsham, who is a former Prince’s club professional and Riddell - a three-handicap member of the club - recorded a total of 105 strokes over the three sections to pick up the £500 first prize plus some G4 shoes and Titleist golf balls.

They finished one shot in front of Essex professional Rob Coles and his amateur partner Saul Saywood.

Belsham, who will be opening his new coaching academy at Manston later this year, said: “I coach Rob and he used to caddie for me when I was playing on the European Seniors Tour, and we’ve been playing together for years.

“The Prince’s 27 competition’s unique format is great fun but you’ve certainly got to keep focused, especially as we had a strong wind to cope with as well. I putted well on the Shore and Dunes sections and then Rob putted really well on the Himalayas to just give us the edge at the end.”

Other East Kent pairings who finished inside the top 10 were Canterbury professional Richard Wallis and his amateur partner Richard Beer who finished fifth on 107, and Prince’s assistant professional Jordan Loft and his amateur partner Matt Baxter who were joint seventh on 109.

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